Thursday, February 27, 2014

Not Wasting Your Disease

As I have mentioned in previous blogs and my books, my kidneys were permanently damaged by chemotherapy.  As a result, I have to take a specific drug daily to help prevent further damage.  Also, I have to avoid certain medications which are toxic to the kidneys.

When I visited my kidney doctor about a month ago, I noticed an advertisement in her office about being part of a research study for patients with mildly damaged kidneys.  This study would involve being given an experimental medication and seeing its effects on kidney function.  Ultimately, the study would involve a total of six doctors' visits within a month along with numerous lab tests.  After I left the doctor's office, I contacted the study director and opted to be a part of the study.  I thought "Why not???"  After all I had been through with chemotherapy, I speculated that by participating I could help others in the future.  In other words, I did not want to squander what I had learned through my illness.  Being in the study reminded me of what I had read by John Piper.

John Piper is a pastor and prolific Christian writer.  He also was diagnosed with prostate cancer several years ago.  He subsequently wrote a pamphlet entitled "Don't Waste Your Cancer" which is very informative.  He mentions many ways that we don't take advantage of our cancer diagnosis.  He states:

1.  We waste our cancer if we don't hear in our own groanings the hope-filled labor pains of a fallen world.
2.  We waste our cancer if we do not believe it is designed for us by God.
3.  We waste our cancer if we believe it is a curse and not a gift.
4.  We waste our cancer if we seek our comfort from our odds rather than from God.
5.  We waste our cancer if we refuse to think about death.
6.  We waste our cancer if we think that "beating" cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
7.  We waste our cancer if we spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.
8.  We waste our cancer if we let it drive us into solitude instead of deepen our relationships with manifest affection.
9.  We waste our cancer if we grieve as those who have no hope.
10.  We waste our cancer if we treat sin as casually as before.
11.  We waste our cancer if we fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

I would even add an additional thought:
12.  We waste our cancer if we focus primarily on our own recovery instead of ways we can help others.

Hopefully, my participation in the study demonstrated that  I was not "wasting my cancer".  Perhaps I will have many opportunities in the future to minister to others as God opens doors.  I would encourage you to read John Piper's "Don't Waste your Cancer".  It is available at: 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Worth A Try

Several weeks ago I was driving to work on a cold day.  There was a threat of snow that evening so it was somewhat chilly outside during my commute with temperature in the mid thirties.  I believe there may have been a mild rain falling also.  On my way to work I passed by the golf course where I on occasion have the opportunity to try out my golfing skills (or should I say my "non golfing" skills).  Nevertheless, I can usually see the green on hole number 5 at Roebuck Golf Course from the interstate along with other views of the course. 

What caught my attention is that the golf course still appeared like it was open for business, even though the weather was cold with a mild drizzle with more wintry conditions predicted.  The flag was in place on the green just as if the weather was optimal for golfing.  Not surprisingly, as I scanned the golf course from the interstate, I didn't see a single golfer on the links due to the miserable weather conditions.  This was about 6:30AM as I drove by.

Yet, later, and I have no verification of this, maybe someone did actually get out on the golf course that day.   He bundled up, teed up, and commenced to playing.  Since there was no other traffic on the course, he probably could have completed the round in a few short hours.  He may have shot the best round of his life.  With no one else on the course hindering his play, it may have been an amazing round.  Hence, the golf game may have been worth a try.

Sometimes in life, although it may not make much sense at the time, it may be worth a try.  I know in my own life in promoting my cancer story, I've sought national venues to share what God has done for me.  I've sent letters to Dr. Oz, "The Doctors" TV show,  "The Rick and Bubba" Radio Show (which is very popular here in the Southeast), and even CNN.  I still haven't received any replies.  Yet, who knows, one day a door may open to a magnificent publicity opportunity with these media outlets. I keep trying, keep pressing to see if something will develop as I persist.

I've heard that when you're rubbing on a magic lamp, it doesn't hurt to make a fourth wish.  Why not?  Why not aim for something which is beyond all "we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20) ?  Aiming high in life may ultimately reap greater rewards.  Hence, as my goals are attained,  perhaps I'll be able to look back one day and note how it was worth all of the effort.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Glorified Sickness

Can sickness be a blessing and not a curse?  I'm happy to announce the release of my latest book, "Glorified Sickness: Honoring God Through Illness."  In "Glorified Sickness", I describe the many ways God uses sickness for His glory.  Amazingly, sickness can:

S-start new ministries
I-illustrate God's power
C-compel people to come to Christ
K-knock down man's pride
N-note God's judgment
E-enhance our character or encourage others through our example
S-strengthen families
S-shuttle believers into eternity

If you or a family member are suffering from an illness, be encouraged: there is a divine reason for the infirmity.  Recognizing the benefits of the sickness may ultimately turn our pain into praise, our mourning into dancing.  Read about it in my latest book, "Glorified Sickness: Honoring God Through Illness".  Available at  It can be accessed at:

Friday, February 7, 2014

My "Heart of Health" Interview

I interviewed on February 6th, 2014 on "The Heart of Health", a Christian medical program produced by Heartwise Ministries in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  In the interview, I talk about my cancer survival and books, "A Place I Didn't Want To Go: My Victory Over Cancer", and my newest book, "Glorified Sickness: Honoring God Through Illness" (which hopefully will be available on Amazon around February 12th).  You can access the interview at:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Being Content

This past week the Birmingham area was hit by a couple of inches of snow.  Not too much of a snowfall according to northern USA standards, but to us it was a paralyzing snowstorm as traffic snarled within a few hours.  Many people were stranded in their vehicles and had to seek shelter in any available facility.  My pregnant niece (who is due any day now) had to be rescued by a law enforcement officer off an icy road.  He graciously transported her home.

Everywhere you go there are snow stories.  "Where were you when the snow started falling?" and "Did you make it home?" are fairly common questions.  My Sunday School teacher even gave a gift card today to the person who had the hardest luck story of the week.

Although I didn't win the gift card, I also was stranded by the weather.  Working in the hospital, it became inevitable after several hours of snowfall that I was bound to spend the night.  That evening I went to the hospital cafeteria and consumed whatever hot meal was available (which happened to be pork loin, rice and carrots), borrowed a scrub suit from the operating room (I didn't have any extra clothes with me) and prepared to spend the night.  I did have a toothbrush, toothpaste and razor in my office at work in addition to a comb in my car.  Otherwise I obtained deodorant, soap and shaving cream from our patient supply cart.  I slept on a folding recliner in a patient room (in addition to three other male employees who also slept on recliners, one in the bed) and prepared for work the following day.

The next morning I ate Pop Tarts from a vending machine and drank some orange juice for breakfast before starting my workday.  For lunch, the hospital graciously sent up boxed lunches to our floor so I enjoyed chicken wings, macaroni and cheese in addition to a mixed broccoli vegetable entre'.  Later in the day, the roads cleared sufficiently so I was almost able to drive home, having to abandon my car about 1/2 mile from my home and walking the rest of the way.  I was able to sleep in my own bed before walking to my car the next morning in 12 degree weather and riding cautiously back to work.

Why do I mention all of my travails?  I write these things because I learned something from the snow.  Essentially, a paralyzing snowstorm reduces life to basic essentials: food, clothing and shelter.  I really didn't care what I wore at work as long as I had something to wear.  In like manner, it didn't matter what I had to eat as long as it was something.  Furthermore, just having a place to sleep (albeit just a recliner) was invaluable. 

The whole experience reminded me of I Timothy 6:8, " If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content."  Sometimes that is really all we need, i.e. food, covering and shelter.  Just the basics were more than enough when the snow hit.  So, for little things such as the hot meal, the clothes to wear and a recliner in which to sleep, I had ample items in which to be truly content.